Promoting responsible investment in Myanmar - UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises


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This presentation by the UK NCP was made during the Promoting Responsible Investment in Myanmar Conference (4 March 2014) in the session on opportunities for RBC in Myanmar.

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  • 8 non-OECD members: Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru and Romania
  • Tripartite: involving governments, business and trade unions
  • Promoting responsible investment in Myanmar - UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises

    2. 2. What are the Guidelines  1976 - Adopted as part of OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises  Recommendations - Providing voluntary principles & standards for responsible business conduct for multinational corporations operating in or from countries adhering to the Declaration. The Guidelines are voluntary.  Behaviour - Government-backed recommendations for responsible business conduct in existence today  Applicable worldwide - Based on universally shared values, principles, and norms. Consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognised standards  Revised - Five times, most recently in 2011  Significant - convergence with other Corporate Social Responsibility instruments – UN Guiding Principals
    3. 3. Purpose of the Guidelines Guidelines aim to ensure that Multinational Enterprises operations:  Are in harmony with government policies  Strengthen the basis of mutual confidence with the societies in which they operate  Help improve the foreign investment climate  Enhance contribution to sustainable development
    4. 4. Scope of the Guidelines  Concepts and Principles  General Policies  Disclosure  Human Rights – Since 2011  Employment and Industrial Relations  Environment  Combating Bribery, Bribe Solicitation and Extortion  Consumer Interests  Science and Technology  Competition  Taxation
    5. 5. Adherents 46 Adhering Governments  34 OECD members  12 non-OECD members  Representative of all regions of the world  Account for over 85% of foreign direct investment Governments must set up a National Contact Point (NCP) which has two functions: 1. Implementing a complaint mechanism. 2. Promotion of the Guidelines with businesses, trade unions and NGOs, etc.
    6. 6. Changes to the Guidelines In 2011 the main changes included the introduction of:  Human Rights - More detailed recommendations on human rights and the extent to which multinationals should apply due diligence in their supply chain.  Timescales - Indicative timeframes for handling complaints.  Clarity - Clearer guidance for NCPs on issuing public statements at the end of the complaint process.  Legal - Guidance on how NCPs should approach situations where there are non-prejudicial parallel legal proceedings at the same time as the complaint under the Guidelines.
    7. 7. UK NCP - Background UK NCP was created in 2000 – Crosscutting Government – It sits with BIS and is funded by DFID. In 2008 the UK NCP underwent a major restructuring, following a public consultation. Four significant changes were introduced: 1.Steering Board - to monitor the operation of the UK NCP, composed of representatives of relevant government departments as well as external members (representing UK businesses, trades unions and NGOs). 2.Timeframes - Use of Deadlines 3.Mediators - Professional in the complaint process. 4.Publication - Initial & Final assessments
    8. 8. UK NCP - Results From 2008 to December 2013 the UK NCP has considered 40 complaints. But has received many enquiries. All assessments made are published on the website. Ongoing Rejected at Initial Assessment stage Found no breach of the Guidelines Found one or more breaches of the Guidelines Parties reached an agreement 12 7 7 6 8
    9. 9. Our Cases – An Example Complaint from the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) against Cargill Cotton Limited (in Uzbekistan) - 2011  ECCHR, wrote to the UK NCP raising a number of concerns which the ECCHR considered constitute a Specific Instance under the Guidelines in respect of the UK registered company Cargill Cotton Limited (Cargill) in relation to Uzbekistan. The ECCHR alleged that, by buying cotton, allegedly produced through the systematic use of child and forced labour in Uzbekistan, Cargill had breached the Guidelines.  Cargill denied these allegations - The UK NCP offered, and both parties accepted mediation. They both agreed a mutually acceptable solution to the complaint through conciliation. The main points of the agreement are:  Cargill does not condone the use of abusive, enforced or illegal labour wherever this may occur. It recognises that there have been serious allegations about the systematic use of forced child labour in Uzbekistan and would wish such allegations to be investigated by an appropriate independent international organisation. ECCHR believes that businesses have a responsibility to take active steps to prevent such practices as forced child labour in the supply chain”.  ECCHR and Cargill will inform each other and exchange views on a regular basis For more information on this case visit:
    10. 10. What have we learned  Clarity - Ensuring that all parties are clear on what to expect at each step of the process.  Sharing information - With both parties avoids placing the NCP in untenable situations.  Mediators – Use in the conciliation stage of the complaint.  Follow up - process by the NCP on the implementation of the NCP’s recommendations  Steering Board - Robust / Challenging – Reviewed in 2013  Raising awareness - Promoting the OECD Guidelines
    11. 11. Our Challenges  Caseload Management - 2013 received unprecedented number of complaints.  Levelling the playing field - There is a perceived difference between how each individual NCP operates. We need to have international consistency into how an NCP investigates a complaint.  Outreach – Important to work with large economies like the Brazil & India otherwise OECD-based companies will continue to be a disadvantage in respect of the potentially differing corporate standards expected from companies based in non- adhering countries.  Managing Expectations – Complainants need to understand the limitations of this voluntary process
    12. 12. What are we doing NCP Peer Reviews - UK has played an active part in the reviews of Netherlands(2010), Japan (2012) & Norway (2013). Outreach - Working with Brazil and India in the area of CSR to promote the Guidelines NCP Training Events - To promote a level playing field in the implementation of the OECD Guidelines. We have worked with the Latin American & Central European NCPs. International Seminars - On the Extractive Industry Sector and also supply chain mechanisms in the Garment Trade. OECD - Support for Mediation Manual & NCP Case Database
    13. 13. Useful Links 2011 OECD Guidelines: UK NCP General Information Website: economic-co-operation-and-development-oecd-guidelines-for- multinational-enterprises Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC): Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC): OECD Watch:
    14. 14. The Team Steven Murdoch - Head of Investment Team Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) Danish Chopra - Senior Policy Advisor Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) Liz Napier - Senior Policy Advisor Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) Our Address: 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET. Web: Blog: Twitter: @bisgovuk
    15. 15. Thank You Any Questions ?